Ayurvedic Wellness Tips

for Winter + Spring in the Valley

It’s no secret that the influence of the seasons has repercussions for your health; colds and flu tend to run rampant as winter progresses whilst spring, for many, marks the onset of pesky allergies, and summer’s warm weather often provides a welcome reprieve from illness altogether. Your physiology is constantly adapting to the changes in temperature, precipitation, food availability, sun exposure and activity level that characterize the cycle of the year.

Butterflies on blue background

Photos from Adobe Stock

The time-tested medical tradition of Ayurveda, often called yoga’s holistic sister science, has placed special importance on the influence of seasonality on your health and well-being for thousands of years. In response, it outlines specific, practical, seasonal routines (ritucharya) to help you stay balanced and healthy 12 months a year.

To understand how these seasonal routines can benefit you, it’s helpful to appreciate two fundamentals of Ayurveda. First, the principle that like increases like. For instance, the cold, dry winds that turn the aspen leaves crunchy and blow them to the ground in the fall also provoke dryness in your physiology, resulting in dry skin, constipation and depletion. Second, we can restore balance with opposites, such as using oil to soothe dry skin.

When it comes to living in the Valley, our long cold season, which usually shows up in November and stubbornly sticks around until May, is arguably the most impactful for your health. Ayurveda divides this period up into two seasons: Shishira ritu (late winter), characterized by increased cold and dryness, and vasanta ritu(spring), characterized by liquefaction, which in our case means snowmelt and thawing ground. Because these two seasons are markedly different — the first is dry and cold while the second is heavy and moist —they have practically contrasting effects on your physiology, and therefore require two distinct approaches to daily living.


for January to Mid-March

During these coldest months, heat tends to become trapped in your body, enabling a stronger digestive fire, which helps you to consume the heavier, fatty foods you need for welcome fuel during our busy season.

  • Nourish with warm, well-spiced stews and soups, root vegetables, organic dairy, whole grains and good quality oils. Eat well with regular meals, and eat to satiety.
  • Self-massage with warm sesame oil over your entire body in the morning or before bed, followed by a shower, or take advantage of the Valley’s many spa services for a little extra pampering.
  • Stay toasty by bundling up in extra layers to avoid cold drafts down your neck; wrap up in a soft wool blanket from Hygge Life when you’re at home and enjoy hot baths, hot tubs and saunas when you can.
  • Rest to avoid depletion with earlier bedtimes (by 10:30p.m.) and regular relaxation practices such as restorative yoga, yin yoga, yoga nidra and meditation.
  • Avoid light, dry, cold foods like salads, processed foods and crunchy snacks as well as overexposure to cold; carry a thermos with hot water, tea or hot chocolate with you on the mountain.


for Mid-March through May

The thawing of winter may be mirrored by excessive mucus in the body accompanied by a sensation of physical and emotional heaviness that are best balanced with an overall approach of lightening up and getting moving.

  • Cleanse by removing alcohol, processed foods and sugar from your diet for one to three weeks and focusing on whole foods rich in antioxidants, such as fresh fruits and stir-fried vegetables.
  • Awaken earlier now that the sun is peeking over the Gore Range more promptly; set your alarm to rouse you at sunrise or even a little earlier, so you can watch the sun come up.
  • Exercise regularly to shake off that heavy feeling and move lymph to protect you against seasonal colds and allergies; enjoy more vigorous yoga, snowshoeing and spin classes to get your heart rate up.
  • Dry massage instead of oil massage, using a soft, stimulating body brush over your skin while standing in the shower; you can apply oil or lotion after your shower if this leaves you feeling dry.
  • Avoid heavy, oily foods, excessive sweets and naps.